Richmond Council is working hard to support local universities and colleges as they plan to welcome back students to the borough safely this Autumn.
September and October will see the return of thousands of university and college students to the borough. In preparation for this, the Council has been working in partnership with local universities and further education colleges, particularly those with student residencies, to ensure both a safe return for students whilst protecting our residents.
Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Education Committee for Richmond Council, said:
"”We are doing everything we can to protect us all during the pandemic. Our universities and colleges are working hard to provide Covid-safe facilities.
“Students are very welcome in our borough - however, we must all stay alert in order to control the virus and save lives. Therefore, it is incredibly important to communicate to students the risks of transmitting coronavirus.
“My message to students is you can play your part and help control the spread of the virus by following social distancing guidance on and off campus - when you’re travelling, shopping, in cafes, bars and restaurants - so that your uni can stay open and the local community and your family will stay safe.”
Our higher education establishments have been working together with local Public Health teams and regional health protection units to ensure Government guidance is implemented and safety is maintained both on and off-site. These measures include:
- Applying and enforcing the ‘hands, face, space’ rules across campus’ and residencies
- Implementation of blended learning to minimise social contact
- Supporting vulnerable students to continue their education while protecting their health and well-being.
- Containment procedures and support for those required to self-isolate or testing positive for COVID-19.
- Enabling international students to quarantine on-campus where required.
- Enforcing compliance with university guidelines and policy through the student unions and ‘codes of conduct’.
- Increased facilities for students that commute including improved access to non-public transport options.
- Working pro-actively with students and local Health Protection Units to implement contract tracing where students test positive.
- Ensuring out-break plans are compliant with national and local guidance and reviewing these as the national guidance changes.
- Regular communications with students, staff and unions to ensure compliance with national guidance
- Tracking, monitoring and supporting students where COVID is identified to further reduce transmission.
- Restrictions of guests on campus and in residencies.
- Reducing off-line social events and putting fresher’s activities on-line.
Our local public health team have established regular meetings with local universities and college providers to facilitate shared learning; understand and implement the changing national guidance and support our educational establishments to follow local outbreak plans where COVID-19 is identified.
Richmond Council’s Local Public Health Director, Shannon Katiyo, added:
“Our local universities and colleges have been working hard with us to ensure compliance with national guidance and we will continue to support them as we move through this pandemic. The safety of both our students and residents is paramount.”
Council leaders have also been working with residents and the local police to educate and ensure compliance with national guidance, particularly in our town centres. The new restrictions, announced from Thursday 24th September will enable this further.
Further information for our local residents, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/coronavirus_information
To Council has also produced guidance for students returning to University - this has been sent to colleges and Universities in Richmond to display.
– from a Richmond Council press release - 25 September 2020